We didn’t sleep that night… at all… We just couldn’t sleep… We laid close to each other and just cried… And the music in the background spoke volumes(2)… We had all survived PonyRos’ attempt at permanently exiling us to utter abandonment followed by death, and in this dangerous world of all places. We would cry together over that for months… And we spent that entire night as small horses. I know it sounds wierd, but that was, is our families’ native form, I guess.

When the sun came up, it began to warm us nicely. But I realized we needed to decide what to do about the Diner. Well, it was saturday and the Diner was open, and Bill and I… “Shysage, what about work?” I asked dejectedly. I… working at the Diner was the farthest thing from my mind and heart right now.

Ariel spoke up right away. “I’m not leaving my…” She couldn’t say any more.

“Ariel, honey, we want you with us… forever…” I said that, but I knew Shysage agreed. I thought a minute. Well, we really didn’t have a choice. The Diner needed us today. Then I said quietly “We need to be people, I think.” Shysage and I changed right away, and I touched Ariel’s hoof and she changed too, and I helped her up. I could do that before… Shysage and I were still wearing… We didn’t blush. Shysage and I got up and hugged tightly. Our Ariel just smiled. I think she expected nothing less from her mom and dad. Holding hands, Shysage and I headed back to the house, and Ariel soon had my hand. Shysage directed Ariel back to the guest room, and said we would be there shortly.

Getting work clothes on that morning was just hard. We couldn’t do chair time, swing time, or anything… “Shysage, I don’t want to work… I want to cry on your chest for days…” I complained, as tears fell down my cheek.

Shysage stopped what he was doing and hugged his woman right away. I think I really needed that. As he hugged me, Shysage said quietly “Summer, it’s saturday. We have all tomorrow off. We have our Ariel and each other. Let’s serve our town today, and go from there.” I hugged Shysage tightly, and didn’t really want to let him go… ever… But we finished dressing, and I followed him back into the guestroom, to Ariel, after we were dressed and ready to go.

Ariel was sitting on the bed, crying quietly. She jumped up and hugged us both when we came back in. “I almost gave up…” Ariel cried… “I didn’t even know what I was looking for…” Well, it had been so painfully close for all of us. But none of that even mattered now. Ariel calmed down as we hugged her… together.

“We should stick with Bill and Maude, anyway” Shysage said quietly. “But our Ariel…” Shysage had to stop there. Well, today would just be hard. But that is what we tried to do. Shysage and I were still Bill and Maude. Ariel was our amazing, irreplaceable daughter…

We walked together to the Diner. Shysage was on one side of me, and Ariel was on the other. We were quiet for the most part. Still… “Shysage… Bill, I don’t know if I can do this…”

“Well, we need to try…” my man said quietly.

The cook was surely confused to see the three of us walk up at about the same time as he did. We were all hugging. I smiled, introduced Ariel as our daughter, then we went around the front so Bill could open windows, get the AC going, our normal morning routine in the middle of the summer here on the edge of this stinking desert. Still, I did that a lot that day, introduced Ariel as our daughter. Most smiled, and saved their puzzled looks for later. Well, Ariel looked about my age. Except, she really was our daughter, so… It was saturday; it didn’t take long for the lunch rush to hit… hard… Bill and I did what we needed to do, what we usually did. We served our town, one meal, one table at a time. That didn’t, couldn’t change. I felt maybe I was falling back into the groove, is the word I think. I didn’t know if that was bad or good.

Delores didn’t let me off the hook. She came in when it was calmer, in the afternoon. She ordered her usual. When I brought her food over, she asked me to sit down. “Maude, what is up… Something has really changed… I can see it…” Delores wasn’t upset or anything. I guess she just knew. Maybe we had grown closer than either of us realized.

As I sat in the booth facing Delores, I called Ariel over and Ariel quickly sat down right next to me, wrapped an arm around my neck, and put her head on my shoulder and cried quietly. I smiled, and tears came to my eyes. “Delores, this Ariel Dawn. I will explain some time why she seems my age. But she is Bill and my daughter.”

Delores just cried for a little while. I had Ariel move, then I sat next to Delores, and we hugged. Delores stopped crying mostly after a few more minutes. She looked at Ariel, smiled, and said quietly “I just knew…” then “I think I want you to explain this to me sometime. Maude, you really are so precious.” That made me cry. Delores couldn’t stay long, and was soon on her way to meet Victor at the mall for their daily walk.

It slowed a little more after Delores left, so Bill, Ariel and I took a break and had some lunch together. Shysage and I split a burger, but Ariel ate all of hers. She mentioned having trouble finding food. I tried not to cry. We could, would fix that.

And I hugged our Ariel often that day, every day… I really had missed her a lot, maybe more than I realized. But Bill hugged her a lot too. That was clearly causing some consternation, Bill said, whatever that meant. It sounded bad. So we did what we had done before. I tapped a spoon on a glass in the packed dining room to get everyone’s attention, which brought back memories that made me want to cry buckets… But I managed to introduce Bill and my daughter Ariel. Aside from more understandably confused looks, my explanation seemed to set things straight, and Bill could hug his own daughter.  Well, a few salesmorons did come in that day. I handled them all the same way. I would point out our Ariel. “That amazing young lady is Ariel, Bill and my daughter. DO NOT TOUCH.” They knew I meant that. Then I smiled. “Now… what can I get you today?” I… Nobody was going to mess with our daughter.

And, even though it was busy, Bill… Shysage did find time to pull me into a tight hug in front of the low singles table. I froze, and didn’t want to even move, ever move. Like I said, I wanted to hug my Shysage and lever let him go. And I realized that as Maude he would bring me here often, even before… I wanted to cry buckets. But I think Bill, Shysage sensed all of that. He whispered in my ear “Can you wait ’till grass time tonight?” I shivered, then smiled. I think he knew… what… We got back to work.

And about the middle of the afternoon, Bill found a long piece of black string floating around, and put both his girls hair up in two cute pony-tails just behind the ears. Well, the locals loved that. I don’t think much else mattered after Bill did that. And our Ariel, she jumped in and started delivering food for me later in the afternoon. She needed little coaching, and easily figured it all out. Well, she has Bill’s, er Shysage’s amazing mind. I was not surprised. Besides, Ariel and I both were wearing jeans and dark blue t-shirts with “the Diner” on them. Well, it was just a family affair now, and it turned into a lot of fun as the day progressed. And Ariel helped her dad do the cleaning again, too. Watching them do that together was just fun. I followed both of them around and sighed a lot.

Soon enough, we were walking home together, weeping softly. Bill took care of the flashlight and watching out for snakes. Nothing was said as we walked. And we made it as far as the swing on the front porch. Shysage, er Bill sat down in the middle and quickly had his girls on either side of him. Ariel and I both, we leaned on Bill’s shoulders, and cried softly. Bill cried for a little while and hugged us both tightly. As midnight swept over the stinking hot desert, we calmed down, and just enjoyed together, as Bill kept the swing going. It was quiet but I think we all were deep in thought, and would occasionally say something.

“I don’t think PonyRos is going to like this…” I said quietly, and almost laughed. Shysage, er Bill just hugged both his girls tightly. I don’t think Shysage cared either…

“I wonder if we can fix your horn…” Shysage asked this. He wasn’t really asking anyone in particular. And where my head hurt the worst was right where my broken off Unicorn horn would be. Well, I wasn’t the Phantom Alicorn any more, that was for sure. Unless there was some way to repair my horn, I would stay that way. I don’t know; I didn’t think that was even possible. But I also realized that, going back to my home world like this would be very very dangerous…

“Shysage, I don’t know where the portal even is from here, do you?” I asked, sort of thinking out loud.

Shysage’s answer made me cry… “I think my Twin does…” That made me think of my Twin. I only then remembered that she had been to the Diner with their cute little Ariel twice(3), and I had no clue either time what was going on. The Twin Link made me think my eyes were messed up. Now, I wanted to see my Twin really bad… But I think Shysage knew that.

Ariel looked up at her dad. “Daddy, why did my head hurt? My horn didn’t get broken, did it? I didn’t even know I had one…”

Shysage turned and lovingly kissed his daughter’s head. And his answer made all of us cry. “…so I could find my girls…” Yes… only true friend could have…

Ariel got up to go to bed. We all hugged a little more, and cried softly together. “My mom and dad need some time…” Ariel said that quietly, and that made us all cry again. It was true.

We all went into the house, and Shysage locked the front door. Ariel went to the guest room, and… Shysage and I to our room. All our clothes came quickly off, and we were in our rocking chair together… Shysage tipped it far back, and I curled as small as I could on top of my man. We both cried on and off for another hour maybe.

I said quietly out of the blue “Shysage, you woke up… the first time we…” I added a cute smirk, then finished “…enjoyed the s-word…”

Shysage started wiping away tears immediately.  “Yes…. and if it wasn’t you… Well, I already knew where Ed’s shotguns were. I would not have been able… to…”

Well, I tried to defuse that. “Shysage, I love you so much…” I said that, then uncurled some, reached up and hugged Shysage with both arms. Then we kissed a little while. Yes, that helped my man calm down. Besides, it was me he woke up to, so… Ok, part of him didn’t calm down, and that made parts of me not very calm. “Shysage, can we go out back like this?” I asked hesitantly.

Shysage answered right away, by carefully picking me up as he got up, then carrying me to the back door. He put me down long enough to unlock, open the back door, then he picked me up again. Well, it was still warm out, but the grass was a little wet, from watering maybe. And the partial moon overhead offered a slightly bluish hue to us, to everything. Shysage carried me out across the grass a bit from the house, then we kissed some more there in the soft moonlight, maybe quite a bit more. When he had too, Shysage put my feet down, and we were standing, hugging tightly, kissing… We didn’t even have to lay down. Shysage held us up as he cherished his woman. Really though, I think we cherished each other that night. I think we both absolutely needed that. When we could, Shysage carefully held me as he laid down on his back in the grass. I spread myself on top of him, hugged him, and we both cried quietly. Before too much longer, Shysage cried pretty hard. While crying, between gasps, he tried to explain.

“Oh, Summer… I have so yearned to give you that… We always had to be so careful before… I gave you what I could, but I always felt… Compromise after compromise… I just wanted to give you so much more… But married here… I knew… I just had to give you as much pleasure as I could… I so wanted to give… you… I treasure you so much, and am so glad I can finally…” That was all my Shysage could say. I cried with him; he was right about all of that. Until we came here, we were… our options were just so limited. And, after waking up, my precious man was simply reveling in all he could give to me…

I just cried…


  1. CSR Maude: Revelations is copyright 2017 by Shysage. And “CSR Maude” is vol. 15 of the Chronicles of Summer Rain
  2. …The slow, understated elegance of ‘The Celestial Capital – Al’Taieu’* from the ‘Chains of Promethia’* expansion for Final Fantasy XI* (*c2014 by Square Enix).
  3. Recorded in both “Just Bazaar” chapters:

CSR Maude: Meanderings (25) Just Bazaar


CSR Maude: Revelations (49) Just Bazaar, Again





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